Amazing moment: Pilot becomes first Airbus A340 pilot to land on ANTARCTICA

  • The plane touched down at icy runway on Tuesday, five hours after completing 2,800-mile journey from Cape Town.
  • Wolf’s Fang, a luxury travel company, chartered it to provide much-needed supplies for their resort.
  • To give the plane more grip, grooves have been carved into the runway at 10,000 ft.
  • Blue glacial Ice is nearly a mile thick, and it can handle a loaded A340 without any problems
  • Pilot stated that the greatest difficulty was the glare of the ice, and lack of runway guidance. 


The moment an Airbus A340 was first landed in Antartica by a pilot is truly amazing.

Wolf’s Fang charters a cargo plane for supplies to their South Pole resort.

After an 2,800-mile trip from Cape Town, it took the plane just over five hours to reach its final destination.

Because of the harsh conditions at Wolf Fang, the runway is designated as a C Level Airport. This means that it can only be flown by highly-skilled pilots.

“The colder it is, the better,” said Captain Carlos Mipuri from specialist airline Hi Fly.

There are grooves carved into the runway at 10,000 feet. Before the plane arrives, a car specially equipped covers the entire length of strip.

Blue glacial ice can be withstanded by a full-loaded A340 without any problems. It is nearly a mile thick.

One of the most dangerous hazards, however is the glare from the snow or ice.

The plane touched down on the icy runway after a 2,800-mile journey taking just over five hours from Cape Town. The cargo jet was chartered by Wolf's Fang, a new luxury holiday camp at the South Pole, to bring supplies to the tourist resort.

After a journey of 2,800 miles, the plane arrived at its destination on an icy runway in just five hours. Wolf’s Fang at South Pole is the charterer of the cargo jet. They are a luxury resort that brings supplies to the destination.

Grooves are carved into the 10,000ft runway and a specially-equipped car covers the length of the strip before the jet arrives to report on how icy the track is

To report how cold the runway is, grooves have been carved in to the 10,000-foot track.

The blue glacial ice is almost a mile thick and can withstand a fully-laden A340 with no problems

Blue glacial Ice is nearly a mile thick, and it can handle a loaded A340 without any problems

The approach into the runway. The pilot said: 'There is also no visual glide slope guidance, and the blending of the runway with the surrounding terrain and the immense white desert around, makes height judgment challenging, to say the least'

Approach into runway. According to the pilot, there is no visual guidance for glide slopes, and height judgments are difficult due to the blend of runway and surrounding terrain.

Grooves are carved into the runway to give the jet better grip

To give the plane better grip, grooves have been carved into runway surfaces

The plane is seen coming into land as tents stand at a camp in the South Pole

It is visible as the South Pole tents block the view of the plane coming to land.

“The reflections are tremendous and you need proper eyewear to adjust your vision between outside and inside. Mipuri explained that non-flying pilots play an important role during late stage approaches.

“There are no visual guides for the glide slope, and it is hard to judge height because of the terrain and immense white desert surrounding.

Pilot added that altimeters who work in cold conditions also have temperature errors and require adjustments.

Mipuri stated that the team used a ‘tactical approach’ to land and it went without any problems.

The A340 was his favorite aircraft. This environment is safe, stable, and robust.

Antartica’s first flight was made in 1928 by a Lockheed Vega 1 monoplane piloted and operated by George Hubert Wilkins (an Australian military pilot who also explorer).

The crew holds up a banner to celebrate their record-making achievement after landing on Tuesday

After landing on Tuesday, the crew raises a banner in celebration of their record-breaking achievement.

Mipuri said they 'flew a textbook approach' and the landing passed off without any issues.

Mipuri claimed that they had followed a “tactical approach” and the landing was successful.

The pilot said of the A340: 'It is an airplane that delivers, every time. Robust, comfortable and safe, performs well in this environment'

A340 is a reliable aircraft that always delivers. It is robust, safe, and comfortable, which makes it a great choice for this type of environment.

The plane remained on the ground for a couple of hours before returning to Cape Town

After a few hours, the plane was back on the ground and returned to Cape Town.

Snow is kicked up off the ground as the massive jet arrives in Antartica

As the huge jet arrives in Antartica, snow is blown up from the ground

The journey of his pilot was shorter than the A340’s, as he took off from South Shetland Islands (a small group of Antartic islands located just 70 miles away from the mainland).

William Randoplh Hearst (US publishing magnate) supported the project.

The short reconaissance flights such as these were crucial in mapping Antartica.

Antartica has no airport yet, however there are approximately 50 runways that researchers and visitors use.